Friday, December 5, 2008

Storyeum: another use

From: Audrey Jane Laferriere
Subject: Storyeum: another use
Received: Friday, December 5, 2008, 6:10 PM

I read your story about Storyeum. You made no mention of my two year vigil to make it a shelter for the street homeless. In the process I collected more than 5000 signatures with comments such as "please help" "it is cold outside" "both I and my young son are homeless." Our City has allowed people to suffer when it is not necessary, a silent slow genocide, and when a solution became vacant (Storyeum) not one of the agencies or activisits in the DTES who profess to act or look after the street homeless offered any help to secure the building to curtail this responsibility. Two years ago your paper published a letter to the editor who propelled me on this course. I do not regret the time I spent on the project as I have learned just how cruel and barbaric society is to our most vulnerable citizens. Before that I really believed that we as a City would not allow such behavior but I was wrong. At least I tried. I am on the high ground on this.

Why is it the name of the new tenant for the Cordova Street entrance confidential. I was told by John Breckner that it is Xcelsior Bowling from New Westminister. The same company that was rejected by City Council in January 31 2008.

Also it is very interesting that the City is paying a small fortune to demolish the interior of the Storyeum building. I suspect it was a condition imposed by the furniture company. An agreement with the furniture company for the City to pay for most of the impovements/renovations. This money could have paid to shelter the street homeless for at least a year.

As for Gregor and his promise to end street homelessness now, this is a joke as we are are in the cold/wet season and he wants to establish a task force of the leaders in the DTES within ninety days. The joke is that the leaders are the same agencies and advocates who have done nothing to ensure that the street people do not perish on the streets. One of The Greater Vancouver Shelter Strategy's mandate is that its members are not to advocate for shelters. Even the aboriginal leaders did not want Storyeum; they are waiting for "real" housing. Contrary to all the mantra in the City, shelters should come first; then housing. Not the other way round. The public that donates monies to these agencies in the DTES should question where their money is going. It costs very little for someone to sleep on a floor.

Also why is it that the lease for Storyeum was held incamera on October 28 2008 and the City clerk's office would not even tell me if this property was on the agenda. Again in January 31 2008 when the fitness company wanted it it was in open council. Nothing is suppose to be confidential unless it can be proven to be a risk to the City (see forthcoming email from City). Is the City already anticipating that the furniture company is going to go bankrupt.

I hope that you publish at least part of this letter. I want it on record.

Audrey Laferriere


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